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Mar 17, 2016

House of Bishops Issues A Word to the Church About Political Rhetoric

Episcopal Bishops “Troubled by Political Rhetoric”


"We reject the idolatrous notion that we can ensure the safety of some

by sacrificing the hopes of others.”



The House of Bishops of The Episcopal Church, meeting in retreat, unanimously approved a public statement challenging the sentiments raised during the current political season of primaries. The statement, entitled “Word for the Church” is intended to offer people of faith spiritual sustenance in the midst of unprecedented negative political rhetoric. Bishop Dena Harrison and Bishop Jeff Fisher, Bishops Suffragan of Texas, were among the 145 bishops who gathered.


"The House of Bishops is not always of one mind and so, it is important to note how rare it is that we speak out unanimously,” Bishop Fisher said, adding, “In this season in our national life, we are not silent; we must respect the dignity of all, not some, people.”


Bishop Harrison concurred. “The bishops are of one mind that our political discourse is in danger of diminishing everyone,” she said. “We cannot behave as though we are exempt from Jesus’ call to love and serve all our neighbors, wherever they may be.”


The bishops wrote the following statement during the House of Bishops Lenten retreat at Camp Allen Conference Center in Navasota, Texas, March 11-15.


Full text of “A Word for the Church” appears below.


“Holy Week 2016


‘We reject the idolatrous notion that we can ensure the safety of some by sacrificing the hopes of others.’


On Good Friday the ruling political forces of the day tortured and executed an innocent man. They sacrificed the weak and the blameless to protect their own status and power. On the third day Jesus was raised from the dead, revealing not only their injustice but also unmasking the lie that might makes right.


In a country still living under the shadow of the lynching tree, we are troubled by the violent forces being released by this season’s political rhetoric. Americans are turning against their neighbors, particularly those on the margins of society. They seek to secure their own safety and security at the expense of others. There is legitimate reason to fear where this rhetoric and the actions arising from it might take us.


In this moment, we resemble God’s children wandering in the wilderness. We, like they, are struggling to find our way. They turned from following God and worshiped a golden calf constructed from their own wealth. The current rhetoric is leading us to construct a modern false idol out of power and privilege. We reject the idolatrous notion that we can ensure the safety of some by sacrificing the hopes of others. No matter where we fall on the political spectrum, we must respect the dignity of every human being and we must seek the common good above all else.


We call for prayer for our country that a spirit of reconciliation will prevail and we will not betray our true selves.”